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140th Wing
F-16s of the 140th TFW over Denver, Colorado

200th Airlift Squadron - C-21A Learjet.jpg

200th Airlift Squadron - C-21A Learjet
Active 1943-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  Colorado
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Type Wing
Role Composite Fighter/Transport
Size 1400 personnel
Part of Colorado Air National Guard
Garrison/HQ Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado
Tail Code "CO" "Colorado" tail stripe
Engagements Operation Desert Storm,
Operation Northern Watch,
Operation Southern Watch,
Operation Noble Eagle,
Operation Enduring Freedom and
Operation Iraqi Freedom.[1]
140th Wing emblem 140th Wing.png

The 140th Wing (140 WG) is a unit of the Colorado Air National Guard, stationed at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado. If activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Combat Command.

The 120th Fighter Squadron assigned to the Wings 140th Operations Group, is a descendant organization of the World War I 120th Aero Squadron, established on 28 August 1917. It was reformed on 27 June 1923, as the 120th Observation Squadron, one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.


The 140th Wing is composed of over 1400 personnel that support F-16C/D/ Falcons (Air Combat Command) fighter and C-21 Learjet (Air Mobility Command) airlift aircraft missions, as well as 137th Space Warning Squadron (Air Force Space Command) and Civil Engineering (Pacific Air Forces) missions.


The 140th Wing is a composite organization, composed of diverse units.

  • 140th Operations Group
120th Fighter Squadron (FS), Operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon is a dual-purpose fighter squadron with pilots qualified to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, including Offensive Counter-Air (OCA), Defensive Counter-Air (DCA), OCA Interdiction, Close Air Support (CAS), and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions.
200th Airlift Squadron (AS) Operates the C-21A Learget. It rovides secure priority airlift for the highest level of military and civilian leaders throughout the world.
  • 140th Mission Support Group
  • 140th Medical Group
  • 140th Maintenance Group
  • 137th Space Warning Squadron (SWS), A Geographically Separated Unit at Greeley, Colorado. The squadron is composed of more than 300 Airmen and is the United State Air Force's only strategic, survivable, mobile ground system that provides immediate, worldwide missile warning, space launch, and nuclear detection to National Command Authority. They are able to survive and operate through all phases of trans/post nuclear attack.


World War II

The unit was constituted as the 370th Fighter Group on 25 May 1943, and activated on 1 July 1943 at Westover Field, Massachusetts. Operational squadrons of the group were the 401st, 402d and 485th Fighter Squadrons.

The group trained with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts at several First Air Force training bases in New England then was deployed to RAF Aldermaston England during January and February 1944. In Europe, it was assigned to Ninth Air Force.

When the group arrived, the expected to receive P-47 Thunderbolts on which they had trained stateside. However, much to the amazement of the Group Commander, Colonel Howard F. Nichols, the 370th FG was informed by IX Fighter Command that they would be equipped with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, a few of which had already arrived during the 18 days the group was in residence at Aldermaston. The latter base proved to be only a temporary stationing, as it was required for troop carrier operations; the 370th soon moved to RAF Andover.

P-38s of the 370th Fighter Group

From England, the group dive-bombed radar installations and flak towers, and escorted bombers that attacked bridges and marshalling yards in France as the Allies prepared for the invasion of the Continent. The group provided cover for Allied forces that crossed the Channel on 6 June 1944, and flew armed reconnaissance missions over the Cotentin Peninsula until the end of the month. On 17 July 1944, napalm incendiary bombs were dropped for the first time in war by 14 American P-38 aircraft of the 402nd Fighter Squadron, led by 370th Group command Col Nichols, on a fuel depot at Coutances, near St. Lô, France.[2]

Assigned to the IX Tactical Air Command, the 370th moved to their Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Cardonville, France (ALG A-3) on 20 July to support the Allied ground advance across France and into Germany. The 370th's fighter-bombers hit hard. German Field Marshal von Kluge soon found that his armored forces moving towards Normandy were constantly beset by Allied fighter-bomber attacks. Von Kluge phoned General Walter Warlimont, Hitler's personal representative on the Western front, "The enemy air superiority is terrific and smothers almost every one of our movements...Every movement of the enemy is prepared and protected by its air force. Losses in men and equipment are extraordinary."[3] Von Kluge himself was not immune to personal danger. USAAF Group Commander Nichols and a squadron of his P-38 Lightnings blasted von Kluge's own headquarters; the group commander himself skipped a 500-pound bomb right through the front door.[3] Moving across France, the 370th FG hit gun emplacements, troops, supply dumps, and tanks near Saint-Lô in July and in the Falaise–Argentan area in August 1944.[3]

P-38 Lightning, "Spirit of Oak Ridge", 485th Fighter Squadron, at Lonray Airfield (A-45), France, October 1944.

In September 1944, the group sent planes and pilots to England to provide cover for the allied airborne assault on Holland and Germany, code-named Operation Market-Garden. The P-38s of the group struck pillboxes and troops early in October to aid First Army's capture of Aachen, and afterward struck railroads, bridges, viaducts, and tunnels in that area.[3]

The 370th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission in support of ground forces in the Hurtgen Forest area on 2 December 1944 when, despite bad weather and barrages of antiaircraft and small-arms fire, the group dropped napalm bombs on a heavily defended position in Bergstein, setting fire to the village and inflicting heavy casualties on enemy troops defending the area. The 370th later flew armed reconnaissance during the Battle of the Bulge, attacking warehouses, highways, railroads, motor transports, and other targets.

The group converted to P-51 Mustangs during February – March 1945. Bombed bridges and docks in the vicinity of Wesel to prepare for the crossing of the Rhine, and patrolled the area as paratroops were dropped on the east bank on 24 March Supported operations Of 2d Armored Division in the Ruhr Valley in April Flew last mission, a sweep over Dessau and Wittenberg, on 4 May 1945.

The 370th FG returned to the United States during September–November 1945, and was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

Colorado Air National Guard

"Minutemen" aerobatics team with F-80Cs, 1956

The wartime 370th Fighter Group was re-activated and re-designated as the 140th Fighter Group, and was allotted to the Colorado Air National Guard on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Buckley Field, Colorado, and was extended federal recognition on 1 October 1946 by the National Guard Bureau. The unit was the first Air National Guard group receiving federal recognition. The 140th Fighter Group was entitled to the history, honors, and colors of the 370th Fighter Group. It was assigned to the 86th Fighter Wing.

The 140th Fighter Group consisted of the 120th Fighter Squadron at Buckley Field. As part of the Continental Air Command Fourth Air Force, the unit trained for tactical fighter missions and air to air combat. On 31 October 1950 the 86th Fighter Wing was inactivated, and the 140th was changed in status to a Wing, taking over the personnel and mission of the 86th.

Korean War activation

As a result of the Korean War, the 140th Fighter Wing was federalized and brought to active duty on 1 April 1951. The unit was ordered to the new Clovis Air Force Base, New Mexico, which arrived in October 1951. The federalized 140th was a composite organization of activated Air National Guard units, composed of the 120th, the 187th Fighter Squadron (Wyoming ANG) and the 190th Fighter Squadron (Utah ANG). The 140th and its components were equipped with F-51D Mustangs, and were re-designated as Fighter-Bomber squadrons on 12 April 1951.

During their period of federal service, many pilots were sent to Japan and South Korea to reinforce active-duty units. At Clovis, elements of the 140th FBW took part in Operation Tumbler-Snapper - 1952, a nuclear bomb test in Nevada. On 15 November 1952, the elements of the 140th returned to Air National Guard control in their respective states.

Cold War

Upon return to Colorado state control, the 140th was re-equipped by Tactical Air Command with F-80C Shooting Star jets. On 1 July 1955, the Wing was re-designated as the 140th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, being assigned to the 34th Air Division, Air Defense Command.

In 1958, the 140th FIW implemented the ADC Runway Alert Program, in which interceptors of the 120th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron were committed to a five-minute runway alert. In 1960 the F-86s were again replaced by the F-86L Sabre Interceptor, a day/night/all-weather aircraft designed to be integrated into the ADC SAGE interceptor direction and control system.

Tactical Air Command/Vietnam War

120th TFS F-100D Super Sabres, 1973

The 140th was transferred back to Tactical Air Command in January 1961, being equipped with the F-100 Super Sabre supersonic tactical fighter-bomber. During the 1961 Berlin Crisis and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the Wing was placed on Alert by Tactical Air Command, however the aircraft and personnel of the wing stayed in place at Buckley Air Force Base, and were not deployed. The 140th deployed to Incirlik, Turkey, for 15 days in 1967, to take part in a NATO exercise called "Deep Furrow".

On 26 January 1968, the 140th Tactical Fighter Wing was federalized and taken under the jurisdiction of Twelfth Air Force, Tactical Air Command. The Wing's 140th TFS was reassigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing, its aircraft/personnel/equipment being reassigned to Phan Rang AB, South Vietnam. As was the practice during the Vietnam Era, most of the wings's personnel were also sent to various Tactical Air Command units, either in the United States or deployed to units in Pacific Air Forces or USAFE. The Wing, stripped of its assets, was placed in a Non-Operational status by HQ TAC.

With the end of its federalized service, the Wing, the 120th TFS and its personnel were released from active duty and returned to Colorado state control on 30 April 1969. With its return to Buckley, the wing was returned to Operational Status. The 120th TFS F-100Cs returned to Buckley, however with the withdraw of the F-100Ds from South Vietnam in 1971, the squadrons were upgraded with the newer model from the Vietnam Veteran aircraft returning.

Colorado ANG A-7D, 1986

In 1974, the Wing began receiving A-7D Corsair II ground attack aircraft from active duty U.S. Air Force wings as part of their transition to the A-10 Thunderbolt II. Then in 1975, new A-7Ds were received as the result of Congressional funding to the DOD FY 1975 and FY 1976 budgets for the procurement of additional A-7Ds, primarily to keep the LTV production line in Dallas open and the workers employed in the wake of post-Vietnam DOD procurement reductions. As a result of these unplanned acquisitions, the Air Force assigned these new 1975 and 1976 built aircraft in the mid-1970s. Then the wing relieved some new twin seat A-7Ks trainers in 1983.

The 140th deployed in 1977 to Gilze-Rijen AB, Netherlands, to participate in exercise Coronet Ante, with A-7D Corsair. This was the first time a U.S. Air Force or National Guard unit had deployed to a Dutch-owned and operated base. In September and October 1979, the unit deployed to Merzilon AB, Turkey, as part of Exercise Coronet Rider. The unit deployed its entire squadron of 24 aircraft for 30 days. This was the first time any Air National Guard unit had deployed under "bare base" conditions in which only a runway and water supply were provided.

Under the Coronet Cove program, the 140th deployed to the Republic of Panama 11 times to support the defense of the Cnal Zone as provided under the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977. The first such deployment took place in December 1978 and the last deployment ended in February 1989.

The A-7Ds wereflown to victory as the "World Champions" in the inaugural "Gunsmoke" competition held at Nellis Air Force Base in 1981.

Modern era

The "Minutemen" F-16C, 2006

The A-7Ds were operated until March 1992 when the Wing converted to Block 30 F-16C/Ds Fighting Falcons, and the Corsairs were retired to Davis-Monthan AFB.

With the conversion to the F-16 in September 1991, the 140th Wing had deployed to the Republic of Korea; the CommonWealth of Australia in March 1995; to Incirlik, Turkey, for Operation Provide Comfort II in April 1995; to Al Jaber AB, Kuwait, for Operation Southern Watch in June 1996; to Karup, Denmark, for NATO exercise Coronet Blade in August 1997 (with mini-deployments to Germany to fly with German MiG-29s and to the Republic of Slovenia for state-to-state partnership); and again to Al Jaber AB, Kuwait for Operation Southern Watch in January 1998. The unit deployed again to Incirlik, Turkey, in 2000 for Operation Northern Watch.

The 140th WG transferred financial and operational responsibility for Buckley ANGB to US Air Force Space Command in October 2000. The major reason for the change in responsibilities for providing base operating support and quality of life services from the Colorado Air National Guard to the active-duty Air Force is the growing presence of active-duty personnel at Buckley. Becoming an active duty base, Buckley ANGB was renamed Buckley AFB.

Following the attacks on the United States on September, 11th 2001, the 140th FS assumed tasking to provide homeland defense as an integral part of Operation Noble Eagle.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport AGS, OH. It would distribute the 178th Fighter Wing's F-16 aircraft to the 140th Wing (ANG), Buckley AFB, CO (three aircraft) and two other installations. DoD claimed that it made this recommendation because Buckley (64) had higher military value than Springfield-Beckley (128) and Buckley had a role in the Homeland Defense mission.


World War II 370th Fighter Group emblem

  • Constituted as 370th Fighter Group on 25 May 1943
Activated on 1 July 1943
Inactivated on 7 November 1945
  • Re-designated 140th Fighter Group. Allotted to Colorado ANG on 24 May 1946
Extended federal recognition on 1 October 1946
Status changed from Group to Wing, 31 October 1950
  • Established as: 140th Fighter Wing, and allotted to Colorado ANG, 31 October 1950
Organized and received federal recognition, 1 November 1950, assuming personnel and equipment of 86th Fighter Wing (Inactivated)
140th Fighter Group assigned as subordinate unit
Federalized and placed on active duty, 1 April 1951
Re-designated: 140th Fighter-Bomber Wing on 12 April 1951
Group re-designated 140th Fighter-Bomber Group
Released from active duty and returned to Colorado state control, 15 November 1952
Re-designated: 140th Air Defense Wing on 1 July 1955
Group re-designated 140th Fighter Group (Air Defense)
Re-designated: 140th Tactical Fighter Wing on 1 January 1961
Group re-designated 140th Tactical Fighter Group
Federalized and placed on active duty, 25 January 1968
Released from active duty and returned to Colorado state control, 30 April 1969
140th Tactical Fighter Group inactivated 30 June 1974
Re-designated: 140th Fighter Wing on 15 March 1992
Re-designated: 140th Wing on 1 July 1995
Group re-activated and re-designated as 140th Operations Group


Attached to: New York Fighter Wing, 19 October 1943 – 20 January 1944
Attached to: IX Tactical Air Command, 1 August 1944
Attached to: IX Tactical Air Command, 1 October 1944
Gained by: Fourth Air Force, Continental Air Command
Gained by: Tactical Air Command
Gained by: 34th Air Division, Air Defense Command, 1 July 1955
Gained by: Albuquerque Air Defense Sector, Air Defense Command, 1 July 1960
Gained by: Tactical Air Command, 1 January 1961
Gained by: Air Combat Command, 1 June 1992-Present


World War II

Air National Guard

  • 140th Fighter (later Fighter-Bomber, Tactical Fighter) Group, 31 October 1950 – 30 June 1974
Re-designated: 140th Operations Group, 1 July 1995 – Present





 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. 140th Wing Fact Sheet
  2. Campbell, James L; Captain, Air Corps (9 August 1944). "Unit History – 370th Fighter Group". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Anonymous (1944). Achtung Jabos! The Story of the IX TAC. Paris: ETOUSA, Stars and Stripes Publications. 
  4. Air Force Personnel Center Awards Search (Post-1991)

External links

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